The owners of Holdsworth House are keen followers of Last Tango in Halifax, so when they contacted screenwriter and producer Sally Wainwright to suggest their hotel would make a perfect wedding setting for the show’s main characters, how could Wainwright resist? Alan (Sir Derek Jacobi) and Celia (Anne Reid) married on-screen at Holdsworth House in series 2. And this Jacobean manor house on the edge of Halifax really does look just as picture-perfect in real life.
Its tree-framed, three-acre garden is a secluded haven dotted with outdoor seating and inside the main house there are big stone hearths and dimly lit nooks perfect for filming romantic tête-à-têtes. The gardens, restaurant and oak-panelled hall all featured in key scenes during the Last Tango in Halifax wedding, which aired on Christmas Eve in 2013. The crew installed furniture, carpets and even Christmas decorations – all of which had to be removed part way through filming for a real-life wedding that was taking place at the hotel.
Celia also held her hen night at the hotel and it’s where Caroline (Sarah Lancashire) and Gillian (Nicola Walker) came to dine and where Caroline and Kate (Nina Sosanya) spent a romantic night.
Holdsworth House dates from 1633 and was a private home until 1963 when it became a 36-bedroom hotel and restaurant. Before the TV and film industry discovered it, the Beatles did – they stayed here in the 1960s not long after it opened. The manor has also featured on the BBC’s The One Show in a piece covering the time when 1950s Hollywood actress and Playboy playmate Jayne Mansfield visited. Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s Great Britain cooking series has also filmed here, as has Channel 4’s Ackley Bridge, which is set nearby in central Halifax.